How to Determine Your Target Audience
So you’ve created an incredible product or service – congratulations! Now comes the hard part – letting people know what it is, and why they should buy it. You might be wondering why determining your target audience is so important. Well, if you don’t target your product at the right people, it won’t sell well.
Here’s a story from Robert Bloom’s “The Inside Advantage” that was recounted in an article by Forbes:
“P&G struggled to sell its Swiffer Wet Mop because it thought the target audience were women who wanted a product with convenience. It turned out that Italian are far more interested in cleaners with strength, which prompted P&G to completely rework its messaging. This, in turn, helps to make the Swifter a huge success in Italy.”
Getting to know your audience will help you effectively market your product, so follow the steps below to get started:
Get to know your product. When we say “get to know your product,” we’re not questioning your knowledge of it. You’re the expert when it comes to what you’ve created, but knowing how to market it is another ballgame.
Say that you’ve created a watch. It’s not just any watch – it doubles as a survival kit. The band is made of high quality rope interwoven with fishing line that can be unraveled and used to reel in a meal or support a shelter. The face of the clock is multifunctional and acts as a reflective fire starter, a compass, and a solar-powered flashlight. It’s all wrapped up in an unbreakable, waterproof, and fashionable package that can be customized with unique designs and interface backgrounds. It’s the next generation of wearable survival technology. And you’ve created it.
Sounds exciting! But who’s going to buy it?
The easiest way to figure this out is to determine the parts of the watch that are marketable. Maybe you’ve decided to capitalize on the watch’s fashion-forward design and its customizable features, but it’s been a flop.
That’s probably because those who will buy your watch aren’t as concerned about fashion – they’re outdoor enthusiasts who want an incredible, multipurpose tool to use while they’re adventuring.
So you’ve determined the different parts of your watch that may appeal to different audiences, and picked one that has the best chance of helping you sell it. Now you have to get to know your audience – the outdoorsy folk.
Get to know the people who will use your product. Now that you have a general idea of who you’re going to appeal to, you should conduct market research to gather information about those potential consumers. You’ll need to know what it is they need, and what their preferences are. This will help you sell your product – and sell it well.
Answer these questions to get started:
- Who? Who are your ideal prospects based on demographics? Where do they live? What is their income? Their age? Relationship status? Do they share hobbies or interests, motivations or attitudes?
- Where? Where are your clients geographically? Where are they digitally? Where and how do they search for information? What social media channels are they using, if any? Where and how do they shop?
- What? What do your potential clients want or need? What are their greatest challenges in obtaining it? What objections or other barriers might they bring up during the sales process?
- How? How does your product or service satisfy your prospects’ wants or needs? How can you best communicate to your prospects the benefits of your product or service? How will you best utilize marketing content and methods to engage potential clients?
We at Pulse create customer personas based on these questions. You can find an example to use in the image below. We also use a Customer Persona Checklist, which helps get a more in depth look at the kinds of people we’ll be selling to.
Explore marketing options related to your audience. Now that you’ve answered the above questions, you probably have a good idea about how exactly you should appeal to the folks who will buy and use your product.
Let’s return to our first example: the survival watch. We’ll call the product the “Venture Piece.” The Venture Piece will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, and outdoor enthusiasts primarily spend most of their time outdoors. We’ll say that we’ve decided we’re going to appeal to a certain demographic, such as those between the ages of 18-34. Now we can focus on marketing options related to that range.
Based on your research, you might find that most people in this age range consume media and advertisements on mobile devices, and use social media. Now you have a definite platform to work with. You’re going to explore options related to advertising on social media (specifically Facebook), and make sure that your ads direct people to a site that is optimized for mobile, so they can purchase your product straight from their phone.
You’ll create ads targeting three different groups: hikers, campers, and paddlers. Each of these people will have different survival needs, so each ad will capitalize on a part of the watch that is appealing to each group. For the hikers, you’ll show how the watch doubles as a compass, and can help them get out of the woods safely. The unbreakable part of the watch will also be important. For the campers, the reflective fire starter and solar-powered flashlight will be major selling points. And for the paddlers, the fishing line and waterproof features will be most attractive.
You’ve also found through your research that those within this age range like to be sold experiences, rather than things. Maybe you’ll come up with a catchy tagline for your product, like “Adventure Awaits.” You’ll encourage users of the product to photograph themselves on their adventures with their Venture Piece, and tag the company in their posts by using the hashtag #adventureawaits. This will lead to more exposure of your product, all without having to do much marketing on your own.
Now you know your product, you know your audience, and you have a plan to start with. The last step is putting it into action. From there, it’s all about monitoring the efficacy of your marketing efforts, making changes as necessary, and watching your business come to life!